UPDATE: Surfer Blair McDonald said onlookers made three attempts before they were able to push a baby whale back out to seawaters after it beached itself at Kingscliff Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr McDonald said his mate Dylan Masarin alerted him to the whale after Mr Masarin's partner, Emma O'Sullivan, saw it become beached on the rocky foreshore south of Cudgen Creek.
"I just happened to grab a bucket and rope and raced there on my pushy, I've never seen my pushbike go that fast," Mr McDonald said.
"When I got there, there was one fisherman and one tradie standing around and we tried to figure out how close we could get to the whale while also trying to get him calm.
"The whale was about four metres long and weighed about a tonne and whacking his tail a fair bit, so we wanted to make sure we didn't get caught underneath him.
"I was trying to give him a rub and talk to it to keep it calm.
"We knew we were re short on time because the tide was coming out and it was getting shallower and shallower, and the whale kept getting itself more and more bogged and getting itself cut up.
"Its eye was badly cut up, as was its dorsal fin."
Onlookers, including a Swedish backpacker, some tradies and surfers had banded together and a decision was made to tie a loop around the whale's tail to drag it over some shallow sand back to sea.
"We actually ended up dragging it 15 to 20 metres to get it around the rocks and once we got it into deeper waters, we thought it was all good and then about 20 metres up the beach it beached itself again," Mr McDonald said.
"We were all pretty deflated by then because it was an emotional and physical ordeal.
"We dragged it out again and it turned around and beached itself again; obviously it was confused and hurt.
"By then we were on the phone to Sea World; and some were saying we should just leave it until the professionals arrived.
"But Dylan and I weren't having a bar of it - we had already waited an hour and a half for any authority to come."
"We just decided to band together because we were racing against the clock and the mother was pacing up and down and we knew if she left the calf it had no chance, we just had to get it out."
In the third attempt the crew of about ten used their body weight to push the whale into the sea, this time submerging themselves chest deep in the water, to guide it out.
"We were all bleeding and the whale was bleeding and it was quite a sharky area, but Dylan and I didn't even think of that when we swam out with it.
The rescue lasted an hour and a half.
"I was pretty shocked afterwards; I was dizzy and everyone was exhausted and deflated; and then we all thanked each other, because we were obviously all bunch of strangers," Mr McDonald said.
INITIAL REPORT Midnight Wednesday:
A GROUP of onlookers have rescued a baby humpback which beached itself at Kingscliff on Wednesday.
The calf was traveling north with its mother when it became stuck on the rocks at the foreshore.
About ten beachgoers responded, tying rope around the calf's tail to drag it back into the safety of deep water.
Parts of the rescue were filmed by Emma O'Sullivan who shared the video on Facebook at about 5pm.
Rescuer Dylan Masarin told social media the moment was "close to heart breaking".
"The mum (whale) waited so close the whole time," Mr Masarin said.
"We got it off the rocks twice but it kept swimming back and beaching itself.
"I was swimming out after it, making sure it didn't turn toward the beach again, and seeing it under water heading past me out toward its mum.
"(It was a) very special moment."
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